Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (on the iphone…)

It took me just under a week to read this. I found it impossible to put down. This became a bit of  a problem especially when I missed my bus stop twice because I’d been so engrossed.

This has been the first book that I had read entirely on my iphone. I was a little too embarrassed to be reading the hard copy in public. Unfortunately, I am very self conscious and aware of myself and I wasn’t quite ready for the world to be silently judging me once they saw the cover. Now, if you are reading this, I will assume you will probably know roughly what this book is about. The aim of this entry isn’t to summarise the book in any detail nor to review it as such. But if you actually want to read the book, there are spoilers in this entry. Sorry. >.<

In a nutshell, it is about a literature professor Humbert Humbert who falls in love and becomes obsessed with Dolores Haze; a twelve year old girl. The two become lovers after he becomes her stepfather. The story is told in 1st person from Humbert Humbert’s point of view.

What really struck me about the prose is that I “almost” feel sympathy for Humbert Humbert. His feelings for Dolores (he nicknames her Lolita), are obviously genuine and he will go to ANY lengths to keep her by his side. But obviously pedophilia is one of the most wicked crimes any person could commit. To rip that innocence from a child like that is disgusting.

After reading the book, I was very confused about how I felt about their relationship. He was using her, completely, unequivocally for his own messed up needs. But he was a broken man. Every person that commits a crime knows FULL WELL what they are doing. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing and Humbert Humbert was in constant torment knowing that their relationship was completely wrong. In a way, I felt sad in some way that they couldn’t find some happiness with each other.

However, if this story had a happy ending where Humbert Humbert and Dolores fell in love, had children…etc I would have felt that this was some secret fantasy of a genuine pedophile and it would have made the entire thing really uncomfortable for me to process. The fact that the pair were doomed from the start and that Dolores didn’t really have a choice but to go along with Humbert makes it seem more real.

Huh! Would you look at that! I didn’t actually give too much away after all. I would highly recommend it though. It is thought provoking and beautifully written. Funny in some parts and tragic all the way through.

I hope Humbert Humbert is burning in hell though. He REALLY deserves it.